Kevan Holland kicks starts our 2020 spotlight interviews! Kevan is the Director at Trident Hospitality Consultancy and has lots to say about the industry and his professional achievements. We asked him a variety of questions to really get to know how he got to where he is today. A lot of dedication and hard work by the sounds of it, read on to find out more:
1. Where did you grow up, and what drove you to do what you do today?
I was born and bought up in the Black Country, son of a pub landlord. I left home to work in hotels. But the passion to support independent and unusual venues in the face of the competition, some would say unfair competition from “branded properties” Brands with huge marketing budgets and a capability to pay massive overrides to larger international agents! Independent venues deliver, in the main, a great level of services, and in many ways live or die based on the success of the last event hosted in their property.
2. What does your organisation do, and what role do you play?
Trident Hospitality Supports independent and unusual venues, many of the smaller to medium sized agencies handle some huge accounts, accounts that would benefit from using our venues. We help those agents recognise our venues, and we support our venues in building their awareness with the agency community. I have a very “hands on” approach, going out and about visiting agents across the UK, flying the flag for our Venue Partners, we also offer them cost effective ways of attending major Industry Events and Exhibitions by offering stand share opportunities. Social media is also key, and my colleague Martin Dempster is key to getting the messages out to a wider community via twitter/Facebook and LinkedIn.
3. Tell us about your professional experience within the industry so far?
As you can see, I started my career in the hospitality at a very young age…. 18 months! But after joining hotels, and was fascinated by meetings and events, everyone was different, never a dull day! From hotels I moved to work in agencies, starting with the UK’s first venue finding agency, Peter Rand Conference Placements, but over a period of time I have worked in event management companies and corporate travel, before coming back to Venue Sales with a brand within Forte followed by working within independent venues, it was this period of time that I came to realise that all is not fair in love and selling meeting spaces. This was the main driver in setting up Trident, creating and supporting a portfolio of independent and unusual venues and see them blossom!
4. What have been your highlights and one proud moment working in the industry?
The gamble of setting up Trident has got to be a highlight of my career, but with out the support (and understanding) of my wife and the input from Martin it wouldn’t have worked! But my proudest moment was picking up the award The Best Representation of a UK Venue at last year’s CHS Awards – the fruition of 10 years hard work recognised by your peers in this great industry
5. What have been some of your biggest challenges in your career?
In life you take some gambles, some pay off…some don’t, one that didn’t was the catalyst to me setting up Trident and having the courage to go it alone so to speak!
6. Where do you think the events industry sits within a major corporation?
Events will always be an important part of any business, a way of bringing people together for whatever purpose. I think the issues with many events, is that it is “the Event” that is perceived to be key, but it isn’t it is the messages pre-event and how that message is carried on through the business after the event in order to maximize on the objectives. Corporations need a forward thinking agent to help them organise the events and brief all parties involved.
7. Do you see any trends emerging?
I see a few things happening at present, some would question how long pure Venue Finding, based on commission will last, with some international groups hinting that they are reducing agency commission payments. But this is always the case when business is good, we will wait and see what happens when times are hard! Secondly – the way we buy these days is changing, the use of the internet, the “trip advisor” feedback and recommendations. But by far the biggest thing is our moral duty to develop and build sustainable businesses, not tokenism, “oh we don’t use plastic straws anymore!” but robust policies looking at carbon footprint, food waste, landfill, supporting local communities the impact we all have and still make a profit - #PlanetPeopleProfit. We have a green initiative making agents aware of our Venue Partners with real Sustainable policies #TridentGreen
8. What does your ideal weekend / days off look like?
Motorcycling, beer and dog walking any combination in no particular order!
9. If you had could have a super power, what would this be?
Time Travel – go back in time and rectify the things that have gone wrong recently…someone say BREXIT!
10. Do you have a favourite inspirational quote, if so, what is it?
“This Time Next Year Rodney"